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What does a story that involves Wizards, Elves, and Hobbits have to tell us about virtue, grace, and the sacramental cosmos in which we live? Quite a bit, it turns out!

Take a journey to Middle-Earth in this yearlong in-person class, where we’ll read and discuss the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Class discussions will include common literary terms and plot narration, but also delve deeper to identify thematic elements in the story, comparing them to other stories as well as to the images of salvation history that run through all good stories. We’ll find out how Tolkien’s deeply Christian vision of an ordered cosmos suffused with grace can give us new eyes with which to perceive God’s glory in all of creation. 

Interspersed with the discussions of LOTR will be classes focused on poetry, mythology, the ancient epics, Arthurian tales, and Beowulf, all of which influenced Tolkien’s work and indeed the entire Western literary canon.

Students will learn to read worthy literature thoughtfully and deeply, notice storytelling patterns that reflect images of natural and supernatural realities, clearly express observations based on the text and comparisons to other stories, and trace literary connections among books. The course will culminate with an end-of-year oral presentation by each student in a format of their own choosing related to the stories and themes discussed in class.


This is a reading and discussion class, not a writing class. The reading load will be fairly demanding—plan on a few hours every week—and students will be asked to keep a commonplace book (in which they write out quotes from their reading). There may occasionally be other small written assignments.



Included with registration: 

Every student will be given their own copy of The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary One-Volume Edition to underline and notate as they wish. Every student will also be given a lovely Lord of the Rings-themed journal that will serve as their commonplace book (a place to write out quotes from the book and other notes).

Other required texts (not included with registration):

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (to be read over the summer before class)

Tales from the Perilous Realm, J.R.R Tolkien

The Children’s Homer, Padraic Colum

Beowulf, Burton Raffel translation

Legends of the Round Table, edited by Katerina Kern (available at the CiRCE Institute)

Recommended Ages: 12 and up

Location: This is an in-person class! Weekly meetings are at Ms. Flick's home in Irving

Cost: $395 (includes a nonrefundable $75 deposit paid at time of registration)

2023-2024 Academic Calendar and other FAQ

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